Judge Dawn Hunt commits minor crimes of fashion every day.
"God she really likes the rules."
First of all I have a confession: I've only seen one episode of The Closer, the parent show from which Major Crimes: The Complete First Season was spun-off. However, I expected the first episode or so to provide me with enough background that I could join this show without having been a devotee of the parent. And aside from a few references which went over my head I didn't feel left out of the loop too much.
Whether or not to watch Major Crimes is going to be an easy decision to make. If you're a fan of The Closer and Captain Brenda Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick, Man on a Ledge) was your favorite character and reason for watching the show, then skip Major Crimes: The Complete First Season. Brenda doesn't make a surprise appearance and there are no web chats or emails—if you're looking for Brenda stick with The Closer reruns. If you enjoy the idea of the same team from The Closer doing the same thing they always do—go for the confession above all—except they're being led by a different person, Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell, Battlestar Galactica), then still skip Major Crimes. The focus has shifted alongside the arrival of a new lead for the squad. Captain Raydor wants to finish what she starts and to that end she's willing to work with the Deputy District Attorney and among others to get perpetrators to sign plea agreements. If, however, you're willing to see the characters you loved from The Closer expand their roles in a confrontational environment, then you will do well to check out Major Crimes: The Complete First Season.
I appreciated what Major Crimes: The Complete First Season was able to do in branching out from The Closer: expand the universe of the parent show in just about every way. Not only do we see more of the crimes, we also see more stories from more POVs. Instead of it being The Brenda Show, we've shifted the focus. Captain Raydor isn't suddenly a much-loved protagonist, and we're able to bring those characters who were more of a support system in The Closer into the spotlight.
Favorites Lt. Louie Provenza (G.W. Bailey), Lt. Andy Flynn (Tony Denison), Lt. Mike Tao (Michael Paul Chan), Detective Julio Sanchez (Raymond Cruz) and Buzz Watson (Phillip P. Keene) are all back and they're stepping into the limelight and revealing more about their characters' idiosyncrasies than ever before.
There're two other additions to the squad. Number one is Detective Amy Sykes (Kearran Giovanni, One Life to Live), who's an overeager transfer to Major Crimes and an extreme brown-noser. The other new face is Rusty Beck, (Graham Patrick Martin, The Bill Engvall Show), an abandoned teen who's appearance on The Closer has carried over to Major Crimes in a big way. The cases are fairly generic, but this first season needed to focus on the characters and expanding their roles, so I wasn't too surprised. Only time will tell if it's got the traction necessary to retain an audience, but I found the idea of a hated character as protagonist appealing.
While there are definite things to appreciate about Major Crimes there are some things which bother me. The first is the use of a hand-held camera. It's one of my pet peeves. I understand it's supposed to make me feel like I'm really there, but guess what, I know I'm really not and it takes me out of the scene. The other issue is showing a close-up of a corpse only to see the actor is blinking/breathing. That's a case of not enough coverage if the editor had to resort to a shot like that. It makes me wonder what was going on that they couldn't even manage to get a shot which lasts less than half a minute. That's not a budget issue, that's not a story issue, that's one of the easiest issues to solve, and to see it disappoints me like few other things.
I had no technical issues with the video itself. I liked the palette choices, especially the changes made to indicate flashbacks. It's keeping in stride with a show based in Los Angeles for sure, with warmer golds where possible and a cooler interior. The audio was a step above what's typically offered, not only Dolby 5.1 in English but Dolby 2.0 in Portuguese as well. There were also five subtitle choices, something I always appreciate if not utilize. Special features include a few deleted scenes, a gag reel, and some interview segments.
It's easy to decide whether or not you should purchase Major Crimes: The Complete First Season.
Do you think this spin-off should feature Captain Brenda, your favorite
If you answered 'yes' to any of those questions then skip it. However, if you always wanted to delve more into the other characters on the The Closer, if you find yourself intrigued by the idea of taking a hated character and trying to mold her into a protagonist, then go ahead and pick up Major Crimes: The Complete First Season.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
• Deleted Scene
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